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  • Author: Jonathan D. Caverley
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: A capital- and firepower-intensive military doctrine is, in general, poorly suited for combating an insurgency. It is therefore puzzling that democracies, particularly the United States, tenaciously pursue such a suboptimal strategy over long periods of time and in successive conflicts. This tendency poses an empirical challenge to the argument that democracies tend to win the conflicts they enter. This apparently nonstrategic behavior results from a condition of moral hazard owing to the shifting of costs away from the average voter. The voter supports the use of a capital-intensive doctrine in conflicts where its effectiveness is low because the decreased likelihood of winning is outweighed by the lower costs of fighting. This theory better explains the development of the United States' counterinsurgency strategy in Vietnam during Lyndon Johnson's administration compared to the dominant interpretation, which blames the U.S. military's myopic bureaucracy and culture for its counterproductive focus on firepower and conventional warfare.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: United States, Vietnam
  • Author: David Ekbladh
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Development is back. U.S. President Barack Obama has put it high on his strategic agenda. It is at the center of the State Department's much ballyhooed “Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review.” These aspirations come with real backing—Obama's fiscal year 2010 budget promises to double foreign aid to nearly $50 billion. Perhaps more importantly for supporters of development, across official Washington accord is growing that development must play a greater role not just in conflict zones but in general U.S. global strategy. It is not only the typical aid constituencies calling for greater attention. Even Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has urged a continuation of the emphasis on development that characterized policies of his last boss, former President George W. Bush. Almost assuredly, a pattern of bigger budgets, needed policy focus, and reform to the disjointed aid mechanisms within the U.S. government will emerge. Complementing (although not always supporting) this U.S. activity internationally is a collection of groups ranging from nongovernmental organizations (NGO)s to the United Nations (UN) and the World Bank. Overall, the place of aid U.S. foreign policy has not been so prominent or secure since the end of the Cold War. Development is once again, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton characterizes it, “a core pillar of American power.”
  • Topic: Development, Government, Non-Governmental Organization, United Nations, Foreign Aid, World Bank
  • Political Geography: United States, Washington
  • Author: Bruce M. Sugden
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Should the United States deploy conventional ballistic missiles (CBMs) in support of the prompt global strike (PGS) mission? Most important, do the political-military benefits outweigh the risks of CBM deployment? The United States, if it works to mitigate the risk of misperception and an inadvertent nuclear response, should deploy near-term CBMs in support of the PGS mission. The prompt response of CBMs would likely be sufficient to defeat many time-sensitive, soft targets, provided actionable intelligence was available. Near-term CBMs, those options capable of being deployed prior to 2013, would have the required attributes to defeat their targets: payload flexibility, throw weight, and accuracy. More specifically, the U.S. Navy's Conventional Trident Modification is a cost-effective, near-term PGS option that would mitigate the concerns of CBM opponents. The large-scale use of midterm and long-term CBMs against mobile targets and hard and deeply buried targets, however, will require a wider range of technologies that have yet to mature. Thus, the United States should continue investing in research and development for a broad portfolio of PGS options to cover the emerging target set.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Matthew Bunn
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: MADAM CHAIRWOMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE: It is an honor to be here today to discuss a subject that is very important to the future of nuclear energy and efforts to stem the spread of nuclear weapons – reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Energy Policy, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Henry Lee
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Spurred on by higher natural gas prices and a growing demand for cleaner fuels, interest in new liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities has mushroomed. At the end of 2004, over forty new receiving and regasification stations were being proposed in the United States, and another ten were seeking siting approvals in Mexico and Canada. Even if less than ten percent of these projects are approved and built, more than twenty percent of United States gas demand may be supplied by LNG facilities by 2012. On the production side, the number of countries contemplating the construction of liquefaction facilities has doubled, and existing producers are scurrying to build more and larger facilities.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Emerging Markets, Energy Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, Mexico
  • Author: John P. Holdren
  • Publication Date: 03-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This country needs to expand coal use for electricity generation and for reducing dependence on oil and natural gas in other applications. But it also needs to take serious steps to reduce the risks from climate change. Reconciling these two objectives requires a three-pronged approach, as recommended in the recent report of the bipartisan National Commission on Energy Policy that I had the privilege of co-chairing: The first prong is to provide a market signal that begins to slow the growth of carbon emissions, but at a pace that doesn't force premature retirement of existing coal-fired generating capacity. The Commission's proposal for a carbon-emission permit system that starts in 2010, phases in gradually, and controls the permit costs with an initial "safety valve" price of $7 per ton of CO2 is designed to achieve this. The second prong is speeding up the commercialization of integrated gasification-combined-cycle multipurpose coal plants, which can produce liquid and gaseous fuels as well as electricity, which sharply reduce emissions of criteria air pollutants, and which offer the potential for affordable retrofit to capture CO2. The Commission proposes $400 million per year in federal early-deployment incentives over the next decade, in order to bring into operation 10 gigawatts of carbon-capture-capable IGCC plants. The third prong is accelerating the development and commercial-scale demonstration of the carbon capture and sequestration technologies needed to realize the potential of IGCC plants to drastically and affordably reduce their CO2 emissions. For this purpose the Commission has proposed $300 million per year in federal support over the next decade.
  • Topic: Development, Energy Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: United States